NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Workers who handle fruits and vegetables at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the South Bronx have voted to authorize a strike as the deadline for a new contract gets closer, a union said.

The workers voted on Tuesday and a strike could happen as early as Friday morning, Teamsters Local 202 said.

The main issues of contention are the amounts of wage increases and employees’ health care costs, according to the union.

The market’s 1,400 workers are looking for $5 more a day, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

“We would like nothing better than to be at work, being paid a fair wage,” stated union President Daniel Kane Jr. “We reached this point because the owners are asking more of these workers than they can give.”

The businesses that sell produce at the market supply many of the city’s grocery stores and restaurants.

“These businesses have never done better, but they are refusing to pay a fair wage to the people who do the work,” Kane said. “We live in this city and just like everyone else our rent keeps going up, our cost of living keeps going up, and our wages just aren’t keeping up. These workers feed New York – they should be able to put food on the table too.”

Robert Leonard, a spokesman for the market, said discussions are ongoing and market officials are confident of reaching a resolution. But he says contingency measures are in place in case a strike does take place.

The market bills itself the largest wholesale produce market in the world and feeds 22 million people in the Tri-State Area.

If the workers do walk out on Friday it will be the first strike at the market in 29 years, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

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